tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC October 23, 2012 1:00pm-2:00pm EDT
bayonets because the nature of our military has changed. we have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. >> romney's strategy, be agreeable. >> would you have stuck with mubarak? >> no. i believe as the president indicated and said at the time that i supported his action there. we had to go into pakistan. we had to go in to get osama bin laden. na was the right thing to do. that's widely reported drones are being used in drone strikes and i support that. >> did mitt romney muff his chance to rule those auto workers in ohio? >> i'm a son of detroit. born in detroit. my dad was head of a car company. i like american cars. and i would do nothing to hurt the u.s. auto industry. my plan to get the industry on its feet when it was in real trouble was not to start writing checks. it was president bush that wrote the first checks. i disagreed. these companies need to go
through a managed bankruptcy. >> governor romney, you keep on trying to, you know, air brush history here. you were very clear, that you would not provide government assistance to the u.s. auto companies even if they went through bankruptcy. you said they could get it in the private marketplace. that wasn't true. they would have gone through a -- >> you're wrong. >> i am not wrong. >> you're wrong. >> people will look it up. >> why didn't romney go after the president again on benghazi? >> it's been a story of changing stories by the administration. we didn't want to go into all the litigation of it because what mitt romney wanted to do is lay out his vision for the country. >> two weeks ago and it's a sprint to the finish. romney's out west with rallies in nevada and colorado later today. president obama in florida kicking off a three-day blitz trying to show he has a second term agenda and he's even got the handy pamphlet to prove it. >> in this campaign, i've laid
out a plan for jobs and middle-class security. and unlike mitt romney, i'm actually proud to talk about what's in it. because my plan actually will move america forward. and by the way, the math in my plan adds up. >> god day. i'm andrea mitchell live in washington. the presidential debates are over. the campaigns now in a frantic nonstop push for seven battleground states. and who will get a bump out of both? joining me david axelrod, senior adviser to the obama campaign. thank you very much, david, for being with us. >> good to be with you. >> got a plan, got a pamphlet. deja vu all over again as yogi berra would say, reminded me of putting people first, bill clinton after the new hampshire primary he had that pamphlet in florida when he went down battling off the late paul son gas. what is the strategy in coming
up with a pamphlet now with only 14 days to go? >> of course, the pamphlet reflects the ideas that the president has advanced throughout this campaign about where we need to go as a country, building on the progress that we've made, andrea. it's the plan that he talked about at the conventions. it's the plan that he talks about every day. we wanted to codify it and put it in one place as voters making their final decisions, contemplate those decisions they have a chance to look at the specific ideas the president is offering. to advance our education system, rebuild our manufacturing sector, to balance our budget in a responsible way, to seize the opportunities of a new energy future and that's all reflected in that pamphlet. we also want them to look at governor romney's plan because what they'll find is a bunch of topic heads and nothing underneath and what the plan really is as the president said in the last debate, one-point plan, tax cuts for the wealthy,
deregulate wall street. and it's the same plan that wrecked our economy in the first place. we want them to focus clearly on that choice as november 6th approaches. >> is this a concession that a lot of people feel that the president has not been specific enough about what his second term agenda would be? >> no. it's just the kind offing that i you do at the end of a campaign as people are making their final choices. you know, most people have made their decisions if you believe all of the polling and you see this robust early voting going on around the country, but there are some who are still thinking it through and we want to give them a summary of the argument that they can see and read and contemplate as they make those final decisions. >> couldn't you have done that at the beginning campaign or done it as explicitly as bill clinton did at the conventions and follow up speeches? does the president have a problem in communicating exactly what he would do in this second term? >> no, i don't think so, andrea.
i think he did it in the debate last night. he did it in the last debate. he did it at the convention and on the stump every day. there are a handful of voters and it's a relative few still making their decisions and we wanted to put it in front of them to contemplate as they make those final decisions. >> david, in your strategy last night going in, were you prepared for the mitt romney who showed up last night in terms of maybe the two wings of the republican party the bush '41, bush 43 wing on foreign policy? >> you know when you prepare for mitt romney you have to be agile because you never know who's going to show up and, you know, there were rumors going into the debate he was going to try to walk away from this positions and statements that you covered this closely, andrea, so you know that he had real differences with the president on setting a timeline in afghanistan. he did want troops and he did just recently say had he thinks we should still have troops in iraq.
he's hinted over time that somehow we should be moving to the next phase in iran and that the sanctions had run long enough and on these and so many other issues last night he seemed to try to walk away from it. you know, you can't do that. you can't walk away from years and months of position taking and record. and one thing that was striking to me is this was a debate about who's going to be the commander in chief. and the one thing and you know this better than anyone because you've covered these issues for years if you are not consistent and you not committed to a course and you can't communicate that course clearly to the world, you're not going to be a very effective commander in chief and frankly he wasn't a very effective candidate on that stage last night. >> now that we're facing this battleground push and we've got it down to seven battleground states, what do you do? do you just camp out in ohio and hope that is your firewall? hope you can eek out a victory
there? >> let me set this race for you. i think we have a broad battleground. every battleground that we identified in the beginning is still very competitive. some i think are very much in our favor. i think we're ahead or tied in all of them. and so we're going to be -- we're going to be running around the country and trying to see as many and touch as many voters in as many states as possible. in the state of florida where the debate took place last night we're in a race that is at worst even and we think maybe a couple points in our favor. nb income a lot of xektation -- north carolina we've doubled down. we registered 350,000 new voters there early voting has been favorable to us. we're bullish on the opportunity there. virginia is a state in which we're even or slightly ahead. so, you know, we're going for the whole thing.
we don't need a firewall. we're going after all of those states. obviously ohio has been a favorable state for us. it's an important state. no republican has ever been elected president without carrying the state of ohio. i don't think be governor romney helped himself with his positions on trade and the exchanges with the president over those issues and i don't think he helped himself with his kind of fumbling answer on the auto bailout which, of course, he opposed. one in eight workers in ohio are auto related jobs and what the president did has been so important to the economic resurgence that's going nonohio right now. >> david, you mentioned north carolina we have north carolina leaning republican. is there any chance we'll see the president going to north carolina or do you really -- >> i'm not going to -- >> -- i wouldn't rule that out, andrea. i am telling you, you know, i said on a call earlier with some reporters you may have been on
it -- >> i was on that call, yes. >> this is, you know, there's all this conjecture and a lot is animated by this sort of flood of public polling, often contradicto contradictory, much of it methodically suspect and all i know is what real, what is real is we registered a huge number of voters in that state. what is real is what's going on on the ground in terms of early voting. we believe it's competitive and we're going do everything we can. we invested more money in television in that state. we're going after north carolina as we are all the other battleground states and i wouldn't rule out anything between now and election day. >> thank you so much, david axelrod. thanks for being with us today. >> always nice. thank you. >> and now there are seven. so few states, so little time to talk about that battleground in our daily fix, chris cizilla, msnbc contributor and managing editor of post politics.com. chris, first to you, talk about
what david said and the battle ground. when you look at it and looking at the cold eye of your editorial in political analysis, where should they all be, the dantss? >> well, i can continue to believe, andrea, first of all let me say, i take david axelrod at his word they're spending money in north carolina but i don't think that's a state they win. it may be close now. i don't see it. where will they and should they be spending time? call it a fire wall, whatever you want, but ohio is the most important state in the country. for both sides. mitt romney has very narrow paths to 270 electoral votes without ohio. there are paths, just not all that plausible. barack obama with ohio is almost to the 270 he needs, pick up a few states here or there, new hampshire and iowa, wisconsin, for example. so it seems to me there are seven but there really are only
one in that without ohio, i don't know that mitt romney gets there even if he winds up winning florida, north carolina, and virginia. that gets him to 248 electoral votes. add ohio in there, now at 266 and he's really close. there's a big difference between being four electoral votes away and 22 away. >> iowa has moved into tossup, another big change for us. iowa is a big challenge the president heading there now. let's talk about the foreign policy debate because you elizabeth, went through it point by point. where mitt romney really shifted to be closer to the first george bush than the second george bush. >> right. there was five issues i heard. some of them we heard from david axelrod one on iran sanction hess was supportive of the president on iran sanctions and talking ability peace and war the last -- >> diplomacy. >> he was on afghanistan he was pretty unequivocal said we want
to get out of there by 2014 and in the past he's talked about i want to consult with the general first and and talked about going after terrorists as long as they're around. he also was supportive of the president on mubarak, on the jettisoning of mubarak in egypt. supporting the president on drones. in syria he made it clear we do not want to get the u.s. military involved in syria. that's somewhat different than -- >> he's moved on that because initially he said we should arm the rebels, echoing what john mccain and other people on the hill have been saying, then he moved in his foreign policy speech we should help our partners, meaning the saudis and others, help our partners arm the rebels and then last night it was no, no no fly zone, no military involvement by the u.s., and really making it very clear that he's talking about working through our allies. chris cizilla, why the decision to switch to a much more moderate stance on foreign policy?
is this all about women? the women vote and focus groups who have said that men and women in america are really weary of war. >> because i think that first of all, yes, especially the war wariness is an important point you made which is one thing that mitt romney kept mentioning was peace. i want peace. we want peace. i do think that's to speaks to the whatever you think our foreign policy should be, there is a wariness in this country after iraq and afghanistan. there is. you've seen approval, do you think those wars were worth fighting? large majorities say they weren't. what romney was trying to do became reflective in the positions he took was to say look, i'm not a scary guy. you know, i'm not a guy who's going to do radical things with our foreign policy. you know me. probably actually trust me on the economy. you know i at least know my stuff. may not agree with me but i know my stuff. might not know if i know my
stuff on foreign policy but i'm calm, reserved, i'm sober. the president can attack me. i'm not going to engage. it with you a calibrated strategy to say i'm not scary. don't be afraid of what i would do in the world community if i was president of the united states. that's what they think closes the deal for them. i think they think they've won the economic argument. the obama campaign would dispute that. they think they might have won the argument with that first debate. can they close the deal. he did it by playing it safe. >> and elizabeth, defense spending, another big change. well -- >> actually not -- >> but another big difference i should say between these two sides. one of the last remaining differences. >> in my neck of the woods that's what i heard, still a huge divide. the numbers -- they were throwing around numbers last night that were not -- the way it adds up romney would over the course of the next decade, add $2 trillion to the defense spending more or less if you go
byc cam clagss and what budget analysts calculate and what obama would not. romney says obama is cutting the defense budget by $1 trillion. not quite. so far he's cut it $500 billion over ten years, a leveling off of the defense budget. there is a big difference though -- >> the rate of increase. >> yes. basically keeping it flat over ten years, keeping it on pace with inflation. but romney, you know, would buy a lot of ships, build more ships than obama would. we heard that last night. he's going on about the navy being the smallest since 1916. obama came back with his aircraft carrier remark and it's the capability of the ships not the number that matter. >> and we should point out something that you and i were talking about off camera, remember chris cizilla, that the horses are still part of our military. remember the pictures of the cia guys calling in -- calling in air strikes. >> in afghanistan at the beginning of the afghan war right after 9/11. >> and bayonets are still --
marines system get bayonet training as many republicans reminded me and everyone on twitter last night 37 it was clearly a prepackaged line like the 1980s called they want their foreign policy back. always or almost always with those lines, it sounds better in the moment than it might upon going back at it. but most people only watch it in the moment. they don't reanalyze these things. >> and replay as we showed today. >> right. >> thank you so much. >> thank you. >> the day after. chris cizilla. and roll reversal who was that republican foreign policy moderate on stage with the president on stage last night? former missouri senator jim talent. and still ahead more on the debate and battleground matchup from two people who have been there, michael gerson and michael feldman. this is "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. ♪ with a low national plan premium... ♪ ...and copays as low as one dollar...
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we had a severe outbreak last fight. it was at least, at least phase three romnesia. >> president obama in florida today punching up his romnesia line and punching home his argument, his claim that mitt romney is changing his message. former missouri senator jim talent adviser to the romney campaign and joins us now. >> hi, andrea. >> thanks for being with us. good to see you. there has been a lot of reporting, you saw experienced veteran, former white house state department and now pentagon correspondent for "the new york times" with five specific instances where mitt romney changed his position, modified his foreign policy stance, between the last speech and the last debate and today. or last fight. >> yeah. i got to tell you, be andrea, i think the opposite is true.
let's just be fair. i think the president is modifying his position to come closer to governor romney's and by the way come closer to the main stream of american foreign policy. he goes and does an apology tour and last night denies it was an apology tour. resists sanctions -- >> excuse me, senator, i have fact checked the so-called apology tour and it just didn't happen. >> yeah. he went to -- four different cities and said america had dictated -- he resisted sanctions against iran for 18 months didn't do anything, congress forced it on him, called assad a reformer and now saying he must go. proposed budgets when secretary gates was his defense secretary which were proposed $50 billion above in defense spending what he's now proposing. he's the one who's moved. it's almost like he's acted like the first two years of his administration didn't happen. i mean i heard the list. i thought governor romney has been very consistent in all
those and arguing that an an america that leads strong and has strong alliances is an america that can keep the peace. >> i've been covering the iran sanctions at the u.n. and in the p5 plus 1 this administration after its attempt in february of '09 to -- excuse me in january of '09 to reach out and give iran a chance to try to have an engagement after that initial attempt there was nothing but a move at the united nations by secretary clinton to try to bring all of the allies on board on sanctions and the allies were demanding make an overture and we'll be with you. they ended up with the toughest sanctions ever. >> took 18 months had to water it down to get the russians to agree to something, only with the congress and senator menendez leading the president went further.
>> in the second central bank sanctions they believed the energy piece needed more time to play out. they would possibly -- but their argument they would possibly help iran by raising energy prices so you would bail iran out of its economic difficulty if you impose those sanctionses a at that stage oil prices would zoom up. >> the president said how he stood up for democracy. what was his reaction to the iranian rigged elections? didn't want to medal with them. he wouldn't stand up for tibet in dealing with the chinese in the first -- the whole first year and half the administration was about america has been too strong on the world, dix stated too much, i'm sorry about it. that's what it was. and now he's turning around talking about the kind of things governor romney has talked about the last year. >> let me show you a bit of debate of your candidate last night. >> okay.
>> he was mr. congeniality last night. let's watch. >> you were stuck with mubarak? >> no. i believe as the president indicated and said at the time that i supported his action there. we had to go into pakistan, to get osama bin laden. that was the right thing to do. it's widely reported drones are being used in drone strikes and i support that entirely. >> well, i mean those -- that's what he said all along. he's always supported drone strikes. the point he made last night over and over and is we want kill our way out of this. in other words, we're fighting a totalitarian ideology that's wrapped itself around, you know, a twisted version of a great religion and we have to fight that with our values and by standing up for what we believe in. that was -- that's the big -- governor romney has never opposed the drones but what he saids is, we have to recognize who it is we're dealing with and fight them on more levels and he made that point over and over i thought very well last night. >> senator, did you in your
campaign strategy reach the conclusion that president obama basically could have lost the election in the denver debate and that all mitt romney had to do is prove that he is likable, competent, that he is a credible alternative, and has an advantage on economic issues and is a credible commander in chief? was that the defense that you were all playing last night? >> i thought -- i saw the opposite. i saw a president who i felt as the debate was going on, thought he needed to make points, that he needed to be aggressive because he was going after governor romney in some cases for things that, you know, i have a little difficulty understanding. i think what governor romney wanted to do was put across the vision and choice in foreign policy as he's done in economic policy. >> and now the strategy is, is it all about the midwest? >> yeah. well i agreed with what i heard david axelrod was saying. i think that, you know, there are battleground states left and
both sides think that they're all up for grabs and going to go for all of them and we're doing that. our message is the same that we can either go on the way we've been, or we can do things different over the next four years and governor romney's presenting his views about how to turn the economy around and get peace. >> senator jim talent, thank you, sir. thanks for being with us. now the debates are over what can we expect in the next 14 days? the strategy sessions. straight ahead on "andrea mitchell reports." >> time for the your business entrepreneur of the week. seth works boston area renna sauns fares, haunted houses and night clubs and hawks from his bone shop cart selling skulls and other items. he hooks and engages and sells through performance and mirroring customer temperaments. watch your business sunday morning at 7:30 on msnbc. >>
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[ male announcer ] fedex office. if we want to improve our schools... ... what should we invest in? maybe new buildings? what about updated equipment? they can help, but recent research shows... ... nothing transforms schools like investing in advanced teacher education. let's build a strong foundation. let's invest in our teachers so they can inspire our students. let's solve this. yes, it was billed as a foreign policy debate, but the candidates knew it was all about reaching women voters especially in ohio.
>> what we've done is reformed education, working with governors, 46 states. >> let me get back to foreign policy. >> listen -- >> can i get back -- >> i need to speak a moment if you'll let me, bob. i was a governor the federal government didn't hire our teachers. but i love teachers. but i want to get our private sector growing and i know how to do it. >> i think we all love teachers. >> we all do love teachers. joining me michael feldman, democratic strategist and former adviser to al gore and "washington post" columnist michael gerson former adviser to george bush. you've dundee bait -- you've done debate prep even against each other. >> thanks for pointing that out. >> what did you see last night that surprised you or, you know, confirmed your feelings about where we stand two weeks out? >> i think both candidates pursued their strategiestrategi.
governor romney's plan was to try to wrap himself a little bit in president obama's foreign policy positions, not draw too sharp a contrast, move off some of the decisions he took earlier in the campaign in order to make his foreign policy more palatable to independent voters and i think i saw the president trying to call him on it and say this is the guy that has a bunch of neocons on his board because he may not mean what he's saying tonight. that's what i saw. >> michael gerson, i could imagine that john boulton was pulling out his hair or mustache watching some of the positions that governor romney was taking. >> i think the debate was a recognition that mitt romney does not want a fundamental choice on foreign policy where the president's positions are popular. when you look at them, america does not want to be more engaged in the middle east and more engaged in the world. he does want a fundamental choice on economic policy where he thinks he has his advantage
and tried to press some of those last night. part of this was reassurance. i think be his model was ronald reagan in 1980. go back and look at that debate ronald reagan against jimmy carter, talked about world peace all the time. he had to get across a hurdle he was scary or dangerous and that i think was romney's intention last night and i he succeeded pretty well. >> when romney made that pivot and i think they kind of anticipated that there had been a number of weeks maybe from the romney camp because i was picking it up before we went on the air at 6:30 last night for the evening news, but when he made that pivot, did the president have to remain as aggressive as he was or did he come off as being unlikable? was this -- >> i actually thought -- >> a challenge for him. >> actually, i'm sure it was a challenge for him, but he handled it very well. i think the president delivered his best performance last night and maybe governor romney again not very steady on his feet on some of these issues.
he held his own. didn't make any major gaffes and that was an objective of his. the president was lot more confident. i think the president looked relaxed even when delivering, you know, his points and making sure he was holding governor romney's feet to the fire on some of the positions he had taken earlier in the campaign. but i agree with michael, governor romney's strategy was to get out of there without making a mistake and again, try to neutralize or be vague or wrap himself in president obama's foreign policy. i think somebody said last night it looked like he was auditioning to be secretary of state, not commander in chief. and look, if that was his objective he probably achieved it. >> michael, you wrote in your column in "the washington post" about liberalism shrinking agenda and the marginally greater society with the sort of moderated tone coming from the obama camp. but isn't that really what bill clinton did in his re-election in 1996 when talking about, you know, the school uniforms and
welfare reform. >> you know on foreign policy last night but also on domestic policy the dirty little secret of foreign policy in particular is continuity. there's a lot of countntinuity between obama and romney and a lot between obama and george w. bush, drone strikes and the way we got out of iraq. >> he doesn't want to talk about that. >> guantanamo is still -- >> that's the nature of foreign policy. i think romney took advantage of that somewhat, you know, last night. obama wanted a slug fest on these issues. i think that romney ended up clenching him a lot as you would in a fight and i think that -- the president was left to accuse romney of being a flip flopper, but if he changed he was changing to positions that were more sustainable and popular. and more mainstream in some ways and that i think ends up to his advantage. that is the nature of the
foreign policy debates. >> now about turnout and early voting. sure and look, i actually think a lot of talk about momentum in this race where the momentum is and isn't. the race has returned to where it with you before the conventions. >> i agree with that. >> i told some of my democratic friends after the conventions ended and the president opened up a slight lead, don't believe it we have to run this race. >> you had no idea he was going to blow the first debate? >> the president has talked about his performance in the first debate. regardless, i think the race has tightened and it's even and i think any talk about momentum is a -- i think both campaigns are fooling themselves if they think momentum is a factor. dead even and sitting here with michael and reflecting back on 2000 i think people understand what dead even means and both sides know every vote counts. even though the romney campaign is gi giving the air that how momentum will carry them through. what obama will do is fight this on the ground in the key battleground states getting people to the polls early and
states where you can vote early, turning out their voters on election day. that's what matters. i think what the president did last night, aggressively holding governor romney's feet to the fire was sending a message to those voters hey, you know, we don't know what candidate showed up tonight for the debate but we also don't know what candidate will show up in the oval office if elected president. that's why you need to do your job on election day. >> michael feldman and michael gerson, thank you very much. by the way, i don't know about you but i don't want to revisit 2000. >> we agree on that. >> i agree. >> no ties. >> and coming up next, the commander in chief test. first letterman takes on foreign policy. >> you think benghazis is that guy who played gandhi. number nine, always refer to the un as u.n. promise on day one you'll stand up to general so. number seven you praise madagascar's talking animals. number six you think arab spring is a brand of soap.
refer to every world leader as what's his name. number four, you think the g-8 is a hot boy band. number three speak to people from other countries whiz a foreign guy accent. number two, know gadhafi was killed but worry about gadhafi, gadhafi, gadhafi. and the number one sign you know nothing about foreign policy made it your mission to prevent iran from enriching geraniums. [ voice of dennis ] ...safe driving bonus check? every six months without an accident, allstate sends a check. ok. [ voice of dennis ] silence. are you in good hands?
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romney? you followed everything he has said from the beginning of this campaign and also his commitment to have israel's back? >> i don't know what to make of what we heard from mitt romney last night. i've been following him since this all began. a very different mitt romney showed up. i don't know whether the president we would get, be if he were elected, would be the one that was at the debate last night or the one who campaigned as a neo conservative these many months. i think there was a bit of dishonesty in terms of using strategy to mask policy. i don't know what policy is. i would suspect that the mitt romney that we saw for the last two years is the one who would go to the oval office and that's one i think that would make the situation in the middle east a little more complicated and a little more dangerous. the one who showed up last night was a mirror reflection of president obama in many ways and i think would be a continuation of policy. but i don't think that's the
real mitt romney. >> jane har nan, you were at the debate what was your impression watching it from the audience? >> first of all we need to call you the iron woman of television. you do more travel and tv than anybody i've ever seen and look gorgeous. >> thank you for that. >> being there was, i think, different from watching it on tv or even listening on the radio. i thought both sides did well and i thought that jim zogby, you should have been impressed with romney's opening something i was looking for from either candidate where he basically said we need a broad vision of what america stands for in the world. we can't just kill bad guys. i know that's something you applaud and he talked about whether he would actually do this and whether it's a change in position is something else, but he did talk about the need for us to show solidarity with muslims around the world against extremism. that is the way we're going to defeat these threats not just against us but them. more muslims have been killed by these people than non-muslims.
i thought obama's close was stronger, foreign policy record very good and a lot of what romney said last night supported the obama record. and the civility, andrea, this is something i would finally close with, was, impressive. finally a debate where serious issues were on the table and the conversation was less finger-pointing and more embracing of whatever our common values are. >> well, martin, what about the middle east, though? because there was no discussion of the israeli/palestinian issue i heard and we heard, you know, what you would expect from both candidates about being israel's strong ally and on iran, a much more moderate tone from romney than might have been anticipated. i should point out just now at the white house, james carney has reiterated that the president is open to negotiations, one on one, with iran but that nothing is agreed to and that no negotiations are scheduled.
>> well, first of all, i can't see you, andrea, but i'm sure jane is right you are gorgeous as usual. >> oh. >> but look what was interesting to me about the middle east portion of the debate last night, it went on for so long. i mean it seemed to go on for like 45 minutes. which is not a very good reflection of what, in fact, is happening out there in the world. the fact is that the united states is withdrawing from the middle east, we've withdrawn from iraq, going to end the war in afghanistan, that was supported by romney as well, and our dependence on middle eastern oil is going down rapidly to zero in the next few years where asia is where the challenges and opportunities are going to be and yet that got short shrift in the debate. indeed, romney if you go not only on what he had to say yesterday but what he had to say in his foreign policy speech a little earlier, seems to want to
double down in the middle east. and i actually heard him talk about middle east peace as well. what didn't come from obama's mouth it came from romney's mouth. so this is a bit of a head scratcher to me as to why romney is so focused on turmoil and the fact of the matter is there isn't a great deal that united states can do about that turmoil. it didn't come about because of us and we don't have a lot of levers to use in this situation and nothing he said about what he would do was convincing. simply because there aren't any real good options for the united states in the middle east at the moment. >> we have -- >> his basic purpose was to go to the center, mimic the commander in chief, and he did a plausible job of that. but i would prefer the one that has had four years of experience in that role. >> well, jim zogby, does the
united states have to be a bystander with all of the turmoil in the middle east? do we have to wait and see what evolves in tunisia, libya, and egypt and elsewhere in the region and most importantly now in syria, which is where the violence is now going across the border since lebanon? >> i think the speech the president gave a bit more than a year ago the state department said it best. we didn't start it, we can't direct it and we can't determine its outcome but we can help. and that humble message is one that has been attacked by governor romney and other republicans ever since he gave it, although romney was seeming to agree with it last night. how can we help? the president also laid it out. we can help with job creation and investment. we can help with building capacity and infrastructure. these are the kinds of things that governor romney, as jane harman said, in his opening statement, seemed to suggest, that he was agreeing with the president that we needed a kinder, gentler foreign policy
because we cannot direct traffic in the region. they've been very aggressive in attacking the president on syria, but at the end of the day, the message that republicans seem to syria is identical to that of the white house, which is we can't determine the outcome here. we can help as we go, and maybe do exactly what we're doing, working with allies, attempting to sort out the situation on the ground and be there of assistance when we can, but i think martin is right and i think that there is not much we can do. however, we have to be there, because we've spent more money, sent more weapons, lost more lives, fought moral battles. it is a volatile region where we have enormous interests and many allies, and we can't walk away from it. >> in the minute we have left, america's role in the world and middle east? >> romney raised this term peace maker. that hasn't been heard for a long time. this was a very international audience of the speech.
40% of the press corps was international. 30 countries have tried to emulate our campaign debate format, so that was a good message because it was civil and bipartisan. i think we have more to do in the middle east and around the world in the economic development sense, in the private sector trading sense, and in helping build schools and provide opportunity for the kids around the world. that's something we stand for and something we're good at. it did come up late night and i certain want us to the middle east, in asia where we have, quote, pivoted and elsewhere to stand for these things. american values is how to defeat the threats against us. not just as romney said killing bad guys. we have to project our values, and then we will then, i think, triumph in terms of helping to make the world more peaceful. >> jane harman thank you so much and martin and jim. what political story will make headlines in the next 24 hours?
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which political story will make headlines in the next 24 hours. we were talking about the obama road trip, and both candidates on the road. the president going through battleground states, and we see it's quite a trek. >> i always say, andrea, i'm tired right now, and i'm not doing the eight-state travels that these guys are. obama today, florida, ohio, and then colorado, nevada, iowa. mitt romney in nevada today, colorado, iowa tomorrow. you're talking about a whirlwind. this is 14 days left before the election. one thing i will say, andrea. watch where they go in these last 14 days. it's not unimportant that barack obama has not set foot in the state of north carolina since the democratic national convention. they're putting their candidate in the places where they think he can win, so where they choose
tells you kind of as the playing field narrows in terms of the battlegrounds, where they go is where the battlegrounds are. >> that's exactly why asked that question of david axelrod. no visit to north carolina. thanks so much. i'll let you go, chris, so you can get your ipad mini. we hear you can hold it in one hand. and that's does it for us for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." thanks for joining us today. "news nation" is next, and tomorrow we're going to have james hoffa talking about ohio and the battlegrounds for the industrial midwest. see you then. at e-trade, our free online tools and retirement specialists can help you build a personalized plan and execute it with a wide range of low cost investments. get a great plan and low cost investments at e-trade.
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